What is it?
Podcasts are audio or video files released periodically that anybody can listen to online or download onto their portable media player. They are mostly associated with episodic content of a regularly programmed series. With the decreasing cost of recording devices and release of easy to use media editing tools, producing podcasts are easier than ever.
A podcast can cover a variety of topics, from the archives of a weekly radio program to foreign language guides. Many universities create podcasts of prominent guest speakers, while a class here at UBC uses them as assignments to hone students' storytelling skills. UBC students also create podcasts and audio files to share student opinion and experience via interview.
Here are some examples of podcast directories:
Uses and Benefits
- Archive Class Lectures
You can create archives of class lectures for students who missed a class, want to review what you discussed with them, or study during their commute
- Digital Storytelling
Students can be given assignments that help them explore and share stories about local issues.
- Literary Readings
Many plays and poems are better understood when read out loud. Dramatic readings help convey expressions and meaning.
- Language Learning
Help students learn a new language by letting them hear and practice proper pronunciations.
- Audio Instructions
Easily explain assignments and solutions by creating short "microlectures"
- Guest Speakers
Share lectures from guest speakers who can give personal and in-depth insight into the latest research and issues.
Students their interview skills while talking with other students or professors about a wide range of topics.
Podcasts can be produced and used in a variety of ways. Take time to look through the examples below and look into the possibilites on how they can be applied in academic settings.
Podcasts at UBC
A podcast produced by the External Programs and Learning Technologies (EPLT) office at the Faculty of Education. Listen to interviews of EPLT instructors, discussions of current trends in learning technologies, and what's happening in EPLT.
A course that supports students in their development as communicators of topics on agriculture and sustainability. Learn more about the project and listen to some student podcasts.
- A Conversation with Kim Cattrall from the Department of Theatre and Film
The Department of Theatre and Film at the Faculty of Arts archived talks from prominent personalities such as actress Kim Cattrall and playwright Robert Lepage.
UBC Continuing Studies shares recordings of their public lectures on topics such as human rights, journalism, and sustainability.
The Therapeutics Initiative (TI) podcast is a biweekly presentation where practitioners can get a healthy dose of evidence based drug therapy information. TI is an independent organization established by the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Similarly, UBC's student-run radio station, CiTR 101.9 FM makes their shows available for download through podcasts.
The CBC archives many of its shows from their network of stations.
National Public Radio (NPR) releases their programming online, available for everybody to download.
MIT has permanently made many of their courses' content freely available for anybody to use.
We will be focusing on audio podcasts because they are easier to make than video. You only need 2 things to start recording: a microphone and the software. Once you have both, you can start recording!
If you'd like to include visuals with your presentation, you can go to Screen Capture Basics
There are a number of free applications you can use to record audio. The following software either comes pre-installed on your operating system, while others are free downloads:
Similarly, most computers today have built-in microphones that you can use to record audio. In order to check, please do the following:
- Go to Control Panel and click Sound
- Once a new window opens, go to the Recording Tab.
- By default, you will see the name of the device and sound level meter. If you make any sound near the computer and the bars go up, it means that it is working.
- If it says No audio devices are installed then you will have to get an external microphone.
- In some cases, the device might be disabled. Right-click within the window and choose Show Disabled Devices.
- A list of devices will appear and enable the one you want to use.
- Open System Preferences and click Sound
- Click on the Input tab.
- You will see a list of devices that you can use and choose the one you want.
- If it is empty then you will need to get an external microphone.
When you're done recording, you can publish your podcasts on:
- your own website
- Blip.tv (a free media hosting service)
- UBC's Kaltura Server (coming soon)
- your UBC blog
- iTunes U (Speak to your Instructional Support Unit)
- Podcasting How-Tos from UBC on iTunes U
- Podcasting Basics
- Student Podcasting Toolkit
- Consent and Release Forms from UBC University Counsel
- 7 Things You Should Know About Podcasts (EDUcause Learning Initiative)
- Podcasts in Education, wiki developed for the course ETEC 510: Design of Technology-Supported Learning Environments
- UBC on iTunes U
- Podcasts in Plain English
- Try find a nice quiet room to reduce ambient noise during recording sessions.
- Audio quality is much better when recording with external microphones.
- In general, plan your podcasts into segments to minimize errors.
- Although a script is not required, it is recommended that you have a general outline of your podcast to keep yourself on track.
- Many people find 3 - 5 minute podcasts are the most effective.
5 questions to ask yourself before getting started
- What's my purpose—why am I making this podcast?
- Who is it for?
- Is the recording quality (production value) important or is the purpose to share an idea or concept?
- Do I have permission from the subject or representative of the site I am recording?
- Do I have all of the resources in place or know where to find them?